Former Mayor Turned Talk Host Jerry Springer Dies


Unbeknownst to some, he was the Mayor of the City of Cincinnati in 1977 and 1978 and served on its city council across the 1970s and early 1980s. He even ran, unsuccessfully, as a Democratic candidate for Governor of Ohio in 1982.

For most Americans, he’s remembered for his genre-redefining television talk show, as a radio host and, a 2006 run on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. 

Jerry Springer has died after a brief illness; multiple reports note he had pancreatic cancer and was diagnosed only a few months ago.

Springer, who was 79 years old, was at his home in the Chicago area. A family statement supplied to the media on Thursday took note of his long career in law, politics, journalism and broadcasting.

“Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried whether that was politics, broadcasting or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” Jene Galvin, a lifelong friend and spokesman for the family, said in a statement. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

Funeral services and a memorial gathering are currently being developed, the family told the Enquirer. They suggested that those who wish to honor Springer make a donation or commit to an act of kindness to someone in need or a worthy advocacy organization.

After serving as a politician, which saw Springer recover from a Northern Kentucky sex scandal in 1974, the former Multimedia, Inc., took a chance on Springer by hiring him as a news anchor and commentator at WLWT-5, the Cincinnati NBC affiliate.

In 1991, Springer took on a new role — one that would reshape his career — as a WLWT talk show host. In 1993, he said goodbye to Cincinnati.

That was thanks to the growing success of The Jerry Springer Show, which enjoyed 27 seasons before concluding its run in 2018. As WLWT recalls in its coverage of Springer’s death, the program began more like a Donahue-styled program emblematic of the 1980s era of television talk programs. National syndication came in 1992, and then in 1993 production shifted to Chicago.

By 1994, The Jerry Springer Show most recall came to fruition, with chair-tossing, tabloid-style antics in an era when Morton Downey Jr. had first attempted it in the late 1980s but had his show ultimately cancelled in 1989.

With the end of The Jerry Springer Show, the show Judge Jerry was born and distributed by NBCUniversal Syndication Studios. It aired for three seasons.

Additionally, Springer hosted the “Jerry Springer Podcast.” He also appeared as a host on season two and season three of “America’s Got Talent,” and from January 2005-December 2006 hosted Springer on the Radio for WCKY-AM in Cincinnati, at the time an Air America affiliate airing liberal-focused talk programming.

The TV personality’s last appearance on the small screen came last season on “The Masked Singer” on which he performed as “The Beetle,” singing a Frank Sinatra classic. He was even seen in the U.K., first on ITV and later on Channel 5, between 1999 and 2001, with occasional appearances across the 2000s.

He is survived by his daughter, Katie Springer, and his older sister, Evelyn.